Australian nationals in the UK can apply for the US E-3 visa direct from the US Embassy in London.
The E3 visa for speciality occupations is a US immigration route open exclusively to Australian nationals.
Under the E3 visa, holders can come to the US to live and work, and bring their spouse and children.
The E3 visa is in many ways similar to the H-1B visa, but it offers a significant number of advantages for Australian citizens, including lower application costs and significantly better odds of being granted the visa.
To be eligible, you must hold an undergraduate degree and the job you have been offered must also require a bachelor-level or higher qualification.
Professional advice will provide critical insight into the visa criteria and application process to optimise your application for US entry clearance.
NNU Immigration are here to help!
NNU Immigration are specialists across all classes of US visa, including the E3 visa.
We offer a specialist service for Australian nationals applying to the US Embassy in London for an E3 visa and for dependent E3 visas for their family.
The complexity with the E3 visa is generally surrounding the job that has been offered, and whether the role qualifies as a ‘speciality occupation’.
In the absence of a definitive list of speciality occupation roles, we can provide insight into the decisions being made in this area by US authorities, particularly as new professions emerge in fields such as STEM.
With exceptional knowledge and insight into the US visa application processes, we can advise on eligibility and provide full support with compiling and submitting your application.
US immigration policy is undergoing a period of considerable upheaval; we can advise on the prevailing impact of any changes in US visa rules that may impact your application.
Do you have a question about an E3 visa?
E3 Visa FAQs
What is the E3 visa?
The E3 visa is available to Australian citizens under the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA). Under the E-3 visa, Australian professionals with a degree can go to the US to work in a speciality occupation requiring a minimum degree-level education.
What are the E3 eligibility requirements?
Also known as the Australian Specialty Occupation Professional visa, the E3 requirements will see the applicant and their job scrutinized against the visa criteria.
A Labor Condition Application (LCA) must be carried out in order for the Department of Labor to determine if the job meets the applicable standards and the job must pay the prevailing wage for the State in which the job will be based.
The applicant will have to show they are an Australian citizen with a genuine job offer in the US for a role that qualifies as a specialty occupation. They will also have to evidence they have a university degree, that they have any necessary licences to be employed in their profession and that they intend to leave the US at the end of their visa expiry.
Can Australian permanent residents apply?
Australian permanent residents are not eligible for the E3 visa. The E3 is only open to Australian citizens with a valid Australian passport at the time of making the application.
What is a specialty occupation?
A specialty occupation requires:
- A theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge; and
- The attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree in the specific specialty (or its equivalent) as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States.
Can you bring dependants under the E3 visa?
Yes, E3 visa holders can bring their spouses and dependant (unmarried) children with them to the US.
While the principal visa holder must be Australian, there are no rules on the nationality of E3 dependants.
Can E3 spouses work?
E3 spouses are permitted to work in the US lawfully for the validity of the principal visa holder’s permitted stay. E3 spouses can work without restriction, which can be other than a specialty occupation.
Spouses should apply to the Department of Homeland Security for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD, Form I-765) when they arrive in the US, which they can then use to verify their permission to work to US employers.
How to apply for an E3 visa
Applications should be made to the US Consular Post or Embassy in your country of residence, such as the US Embassy in London if you live in the UK.
If you are already in the US under another visa category, you would apply direct to USCIS to change your status.
How long does the E-3 visa last?
The E3 visa will mirror the validity of the LCA, which will be for a period of up to two years.
Can you renew the E-3 visa?
It is possible to apply to renew the E3 visa for a further two years, provided you continue to meet the visa requirements.
There is no limit to the number of renewals you can apply for.
Is there an E3 visa cap?
Yes, a maximum number of 10,500 E3 visas can be issued per year. However, these are exclusive to Australian nationals and offer applicants significantly better odds than the standard H-1B visa.
Note also that the cap does not apply to E3 visa dependents.
Does my employer need to do anything?
Unlike the H-1B visa, your prospective employer does not have to file a petition but they do have to obtain a Labor Condition Application (LCA) from the Department of Labor.
Can I rely on experience rather than a degree?
In certain circumstances, you may be eligible for the E3 visa if you can show sufficient equivalent professional experience in place of an undergraduate degree. As a general rule, three years of professional experience may be relied on as an equivalent of one year of university education but it is advisable to take professional guidance on your circumstances before applying.
If you are looking to apply on the basis of extensive professional experience as an equivalent to a university degree you will need to prepare extensive evidence relating to your work experience, training and education to support your case.
The decision will ultimately rest with the consular officer deciding your application who has discretion to determine whether you meet the threshold under the visa.